Looking down into Meteor Crater
The ruins at Walnut Creek National Monument
Monday April 20, 2015
Driving Distance: 100 miles (approx.)
For early arriving attendees, a sign-in session will be followed by a leisurely afternoon group drive from the meeting hotel in downtown Flagstaff to nearby Meteor Crater (access fees on-your-own) and Walnut Canyon National Monument (access fees on-your-own). Make sure to bring along comfortable walking or hiking shoes as we will explore both places in depth on foot and in Walnut Canyon, the ancient ruins are only accessible via a somewhat strenuous climb.
That evening there will be a sign-in session at the hotel followed by a casual Welcome Reception with light snacks, beer and wine - this is where new and old TT West friends alike meet, greet and reacquaint with one another. Attendees are then free to explore beautiful downtown Flagstaff for a late evening meal, visit the local brewpubs or to experience the local night life. And if you want to explore further, consider visiting the nearby Lowell Observatory to view the stars and planets.
But we recommend that you do not stay out too late because tomorrow we have a full-day of driving and exploration on the agenda.
Get close to the ruins at Wupatki National Monument
One of the many overlooks in Grand Canyon National Park
Tuesday April 21, 2015
Driving Distance: 210 miles (approx.)
The journey begins Tuesday with an early morning final sign-in session in the hotel parking lot followed by a driver's meeting to discuss the days route and attractions. We then depart Flagstaff for our first destinations of the day of Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument (access fees on-your-own) and Wupatki National Monument (access fees on-your-own).
After departing Wupatki National Monument, we continue a short distance north to the Cameron Trading Post for lunch, to refuel the cars and for a little light shopping for those looking for local Native American art or souvenirs.
Re-grouping after lunch, we travel due west to the East Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park (access fees on-your-own). From there attendees will be on their own for the remainder of the day to explore this stunning natural wonder and then return back to Flagstaff. You may wish to stay until sunset to capture the stunning views.
Dinner this evening will be on-your-own, but don't miss out on the fun in the Hospitality Suite before hitting the town.
Mormon Lake Lodge
View from the Mogollon Rim
Wednesday April 22, 2015
Driving Distance: 195 miles (approx.)
With a rather casual drive from Flagstaff to Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona on tap for this day, we will plan a later morning departure so that you can catch up on your sleep, leisurely pack up and then have time for a hearty breakfast. After checking out of the hotel, we will hold our morning drivers meeting and then hit the road into the Arizona wilderness.
After leaving Flagstaff we soon find ouselves deep into the pine-covered Mogollon Plateau (pronounced "muggy-own") going past many lakes including Mormon Lake, the largest natural lake in Arizona. The plateau lends its name to the Mogollon tribe, part of the Cochise-Mogollan peoples who inhabited this area over 2,500 years ago.
After a stop for lunch in Payson, Arizona, we continue east up along the Mogollon Rim catching magnificent vistas of the extensive Ponderosa Pine forests found in this region. During our drive we will plan to stop at scenic locations for photos and to stretch the legs. We finally arrive late afternoon in Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona to check into our hotel and then head out for a group dinner.
Twisties on the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway
Downtown Silver City, New Mexico
Thursday April 23, 2015
Driving Distance: 275 miles (approx.)
This days' route could be considered the "Queen's Stage" of the week due to the distance and challenges of the route, but what a fun day it will be!
After checking out of the hotel and after our morning drivers meeting, we travel east into the White Mountains of Greer Arizona and then have a quick stop in Eager, Arizona to re-fuel and stretch the legs. After Eager, we then turn south to find ourselves on the amazing Coronado Trail Scenic Byway with 460 turns over it's 123 mile course on one of the least traveled federal highways, but be prepared as this will be the day of the twisties!
We will plan to stop at the Hannagan Meadow Lodge for lunch and afterwards we continue our journey south along the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway where we will pass through several active open pit copper mines. Turning east and then south again, we enter New Mexico and end the day in Silver City, New Mexico to check into the hotel, recount the day in the Hospitality Suite and enjoy dinner at one of the many fine local restaurants.
The Gila Mountains of western New Mexico
Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway
Friday April 24, 2015
Driving Distance: 115 miles (approx.)
After breakfast, we begin the final day of the event with our usual morning drivers meeting and soon depart for a half-day loop drive of the Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway which winds around the southwest corner of New Mexico, back and forth across the forested Continental Divide and through the country's first national wilderness area, the Gila.
An extended stop at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (access fees on-your-own) will allow attendees time to explore the cliff dwellings which were once home to the People of the Mogollon culture who lived here between 1275 and 1300 AD.
Departing the Gila Cliff Dwellings we complete our loop back to Silver City on some very narrow and some very twisty roads! This evening we will hold our closing event dinner and then the Hospitality Suite opens for one last night of fun.
Thanks for attending TT West 2015!